Victoria Hall, Sunderland - D L Moody (1873)

We are at present favoured with the ministry of our beloved brother Moody of Chicago and Mr Ira D. Sankey, of the same place who have left their home for the sole purpose of saving souls, nobly depending upon the Lord for the supply of all their temporal wants. They commenced their labours on Sunday week, in the Victoria Hall, a place capable of holding about three thousand souls. The evening meeting was a large one, and very successful. Mr Ira Sankey sings for half an hour at each service, endeavouring to inspirit God's children and to lead them out in seeking after souls, accompanying himself on the American organ. The music and singing (partly solo) not only draws sinners to hear but is eminently used of God to break down and melt the hearts of sinners. Mr. Sankey plays with inimitable pathos and touching tenderness, and a heart full of love to souls. His renderings of "Almost persuaded," after the address, "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by," "O Prodigal, come home, come home, etc., are found to be the means in God's hand of bringing sinners to the feet of Jesus. While the stirring addresses of our beloved brother Moody are not oratorical displays, but the overflowings of a heart filled with love to lost souls.

At the close of the meeting, a large number adjourned to Bethesda Chapel (Rev. A. A. Rees), which is near; much prayer was offered up, and many anxious souls were pointed to Jesus, several finding everlasting life through his precious blood. The meetings have been continued every night this week and at all the meetings souls have been awakened, and some at all the meetings have found peace,

The week evening meetings are held in various chapels in the town. We are not yet satisfied with the work done, but hope for a more extensive awakening among souls in this increasingly wicked town, with its 120,000 inhabitants, with its seething and lawless masses, saturated with the filth vended or given free at these singing halls, music-halls, etc., where strong drink and ribaldry poison both body and soul, especially of the young, male and female.

They have been labouring for souls every night with great success. On Sunday (July 27), they were again at the Victoria Hall. In the evening the attendance was enormous, every seat being occupied, and the aisle and lobbies crowded out (upwards of 3,000 souls were present). Brother Moody preached with exceeding earnestness and love for souls. At the close, he quoted an  anecdote about the reconciliation of a prodigal son to his father at the deathbed of his mother; and beloved brother Sankey sang with great effect, "O prodigal son, come home, come home!" The audience was very deeply impressed. An adjournment was then made (as before) to Bethesda Chapel. Here a very touching scene occurred. A young man who had long backslidden came up the aisle to his father and mother, who are godly persons. He first put his arms round his father's neck and kissed him, asking his forgiveness with many tears; then kissing his mother and asking her forgiveness; afterwards, kissing his younger brother. The scene was very affecting;  all the parties were obliged to retire to the vestry quite overcome, Several other backsliders have returned to the Lord, and we hope that they will show that their repentance is truly the Lord's work.

Many anxious remained for prayer and several found peace in believing. Since Sunday, the meetings have been continued nightly in various chapels. There have been very large and very greatly blessed. Many at every meeting have come forward and have found peace through the blood. A noon-day prayer meeting has been commenced and though not so largely attended as we would wish, it has been evidently owned of God. Yesterday, it was especially asked that some of the vilest sinners might come to the evening meeting and be saved. The first person who went into the vestry anxious at the close the meeting said he had been very great sinner. He was saved before he left the place. He came to the noon prayer meeting today and got up confessing all his fearful wickedness and praising and blessing God for his salvation.

"The Christian", August 7th 1873 

August 21.-Our brethren Moody and Sankey have been labouring at Jarrow, amongst the ironworkers, and on several weekday evenings with much success.

On Sunday last, Aug. 17, which was supposed to be their last day in Sunderland, we had immense audiences in the Victoria Hall. In the afternoon Mr Moody addressed the young converts and believers generally on the importance of constantly feeding upon the word of God. It was a very precious word. In the evening the hall was more densely packed than ever before. The people hardly left our brother Moody room to preach; the platform was crowded with people sitting on the floor without chairs. The Jubilee Singers were in the same hall two months before when the local papers said there were four thousand persons present. There were as many on Sunday night. The Holy Spirit accompanied the testimony as brother Moody preached from the word, "Behold," contained in various passages of Scripture, dwelling specially on "Behold, I stand at the door and knock" etc; "Behold, now is the accepted time," etc, Our brother Sankey singing with his usual pathos and grace. the immense audience broke up, the two vestries at Bethesda Chapel filled at once with anxious souls. Another much
larger room had to be lighted up when upwards of a hundred and fifty were on their knees seeking pardon. A large prayer meeting was also gathered in the chapel so that four meetings were simultaneously carried on.

Brother Moody has the valuable art of enlisting helpers and giving to them something of his own spirit. He at once drafted off some of the most spiritual believers, male and female, each to attend to their own sex. These went amongst the anxious pointing them to Jesus whilst earnest prayers were offered in the large meeting for the power of the Holy Ghost to be manifested among those seeking Jesus. Mr Moody seemed to be everywhere.

We praise God that, out of a hundred and fifty anxious souls, the majority left rejoicing in Jesus. Many have since been at the meetings, and all seems well with them. The tears and sighs and sobs of stricken souls gave place to tears of joy, and intense desire for the salvation of their friends and kindred. On Monday evening we were obliged to have another meeting for anxious inquirers, when a large number came together, many who had found peace since the previous night; others then and there found Jesus.

"The Christian", August 28th, 1873.

A minister from Sunderland stated on May 22, in the Glasgow noonday meeting that there had been in the neighbourhood more conversions during the past few months since the visit of Messrs Moody and Sankey than there had been during all the course of his ministry He referred to the labours of three students from Edinburgh who had been preaching in Sunderland with great success; not only did they work in connection with the Young Men's Christian Association but also the schools,  reformatories, workhouses, and the Infirmary were visited by them, and as many as 2,500 had been gathered together to hear the Gospel from their lips at the Victoria Hall. Such scenes he had never witnessed before, and he never expected to do so again. A great number were added to the Lord. One gentleman was so impressed by the remarkable success of the work that he came forward and offered to defray all the expenses if the students would remain and continue the meetings.

"Times of Blessing," June 4th, 1874.

Additional Information

This only opened a year earlier, but in 1883 there was a terrible tragedy there when 183 children died from suffocation there. It was destroyed by bombs in 1942.

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